2016 Senate Votes: A Higher But Fragmented Vote For Minor And Micro Parties

Aside from the Coalition, ALP and Greens, 47 parties contested the Senate at July’s double dissolution election.

Just 8 of the 47 parties polled above 1% nationally. Five of these 8 parties elected senators: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (4 senators), Nick Xenophon Team (3), Liberal Democrats (1), Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (1) and Family First (1). The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Christian Democrats and the Animal Justice Party did not elect any of their candidates.

There were 39 parties that nominated candidates in at least one state or territory but failed to poll above 0.74%. Fourteen failed to even reach 0.1% nationally and did only marginally better in individual states. Another 25 polled between 0.14%-0.74%.

The Jacqui Lambie Network was the only party in the latter group that managed to elect a senator. Lambie polled just 0.50% nationally, but she only ran candidates in three states and polled a full quota in her own right in Tasmania. With 8.30% of the vote, Lambie won a place in the first group of senators who will receive six-year terms.

The election of Derryn Hinch in Victoria is somewhat comparable to Lambie. His party only polled 1.93% nationally, and less than 1% in all states except Victoria, where Hinch secured election off a primary base of 6.05%.

The combined Coalition-ALP-Greens vote was 73.62%, down 2.85% from the 2013 result. This delivered 65 of the 76 Senate positions (85.5%) to these three groups.

The remaining 26.38% of the vote was split between 47 parties. These parties won the remaining 11 seats (14.4%).

Independent and ungrouped candidates below-the-line received just 0.18% of the vote.

The figures in the table below are consistent with the previous election. In 2013, there were 46 parties that polled less than 1% each.

The overall proportion of the vote flowing to the Coalition, ALP and Greens fell once again at the 2016 election. It fuels the argument that voters are disillusioned with the major parties and looking for alternatives. However, the figures indicate that this is a simplistic analysis.

Voters have failed to coalesce around more than a handful of minor and micro parties. Outside the top 11 groups, the votes for other parties are derisory. The so-called fragmentation of support for the major political groups is more than matched by a fragmented voter rebellion.

Group voting tickets were abolished for this election. Without them, all but a handful of parties were incapable of winning seats. Those elected more closely represent the parties with the highest primary votes. The Family First party in South Australia elected Bob Day from the lowest primary vote of 2.87%. [Read more…]


The New Senate: The Defeated, The Retired, The New And The Returning

There will be 14 new faces in the new Senate when it meets for the first time on August 30.

This represents 18.42% of the Senate’s 76 members. Each state has 12 senators, whilst the territories have 2 each, who serve terms concurrent with the House of Representatives. The double dissolution meant that all 76 positions were up for election on July 2.

The fourteen new senators include two (Louise Pratt and Don Farrell) who were Labor senators defeated in 2013.

Ten of the fourteen departed senators were defeated in the election, whilst four retired. [Read more…]


Government And ALP Agree On Senate Terms; First Elected To Get 6 Years

It was reported today that the government and the ALP have agreed on the allocation of terms for the new Senate.

The reports say the Coalition and the ALP have agreed that the first six elected in each state will get 6-year terms, whilst the last six will get three-year terms. This is the procedure that has been adopted following previous double dissolutions.

The ALP and the Coalition easily have the numbers to impose this decision on the Senate. Its effect is to give six-year terms to a majority of senators from the Coalition (16 of 28), ALP (13 of 24) and Nick Xenophon Team (2 of 3).

Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie will also get six-year terms. Both polled a Senate quota in their own right.

Only three of the Greens’ nine senators will receive six-year terms. Each of them – Richard Di Natale (Vic), Scott Ludlam (WA) and Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas) – represents a state where the Greens won two places. The other six senators, one in each state, will all face the electorate before June 2019. This means it is all but impossible for the Greens to increase their overall numbers at the next election. Instead, they will face the danger of losing incumbents. [Read more…]


Getting Things Done In The New Senate

The Senate has 76 members. Unlike the House of Representatives, where the Speaker only votes in the event of a tie, all members vote on all matters. Therefore, the magic number to get anything done is 39.

A tied vote (38-38) is lost, so the government must have 39. Once it gets to 39 votes, everyone else has only 37.

On appearances, the new Senate is arithmetically more difficult for the Turnbull government than the one it had to deal with in the 44th Parliament. [Read more…]


Tasmanian Senate Results Finalised; ALP, Liberals, Greens And Lambie Take All 12 Seats

The Tasmanian Senate election results have been finalised and announced by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The ALP has won 5 seats, returning all of its sitting senators, including Lisa Singh. The Liberals have won 4 seats, but Richard Colbeck has been defeated. The two Greens senators have been re-elected, as has Jacqui Lambie.

Despite being relegated to the sixth position on the ALP ticket, Singh secured a large number of below-the-line votes and was re-elected, displacing John Short, the Tasmanian secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, who held the fifth position.

Richard Colbeck also received a significant number of below-the-line votes but insufficient to get him across the line. Colbeck was Minister for Tourism and International Education in the Turnbull government. He supported Turnbull against Abbott in last year’s leadership contest. His relegation to the fifth position on the Liberal ticket was widely seen as orchestrated by Senator Eric Abetz.

Colbeck’s position will be taken by Jonathon Duniam, 33, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman. [Read more…]


Turnbull Likely To Win Narrowly As Voters Punish Coalition; ALP Secures Nationwide Swing Of 3.18% But Falls Short

Hung Parliament Still Likely; Many Close Seats; Nationwide Swing Delivers ALP Gains; Xenophon Wins Lower House Seat; Pauline Hanson, Derryn Hinch And Jacqui Lambie Elected To Senate

TurnbullPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed Liberal supporters in Sydney last night

The Turnbull coalition government is clinging to office, following yesterday’s federal election, and may yet face a hung parliament controlled by crossbenchers not necessarily sympathetic to it. In a post-midnight speech, the Prime Minister insisted the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

A nationwide 3.18% swing towards the ALP sees the coalition leading the two-party-preferred vote with 50.01%. Every state and territory swung to the ALP, the Northern Territory leading the field with 7.37% and delivering Solomon to the ALP. The smallest swing was 0.68% in the Australian Capital Territory, where the ALP already held both seats and polled 61.73% of the two-party vote.

There was a 3.64% swing to the ALP in New South Wales. The ALP has won Banks, Barton, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Macarthur, Macquarie and Paterson.

In Victoria, the swing was 2.13% but it appears that only one seat has changed hands. The ALP lost Chisholm, the eastern suburban Melbourne electorate held since 1998 by the former Speaker, Anna Burke. The Greens came close to winning Batman and counting may yet throw Melbourne Ports into doubt for the ALP.

In Queensland, a swing of 2.75% delivered Longman to the ALP and ended the two-term career of 26-year-old Wyatt Roy. The LNP electorates of Capricornia, Forde and Petrie are too close to call. Hinkler may also be in play.

In Western Australia, a 3.82% swing has delivered the new electorate of Burt to the ALP, giving it 4 of the 16 seats.

Tasmania swung decisively by 6.33% to the ALP and it picked up 3 seats lost in 2013: Bass, Braddon and Lyons.

In South Australia, a swing of 4.44% saw two seats change hands. The ALP’s Steve Georganas regained Hindmarsh, which he lost in 2013. The Liberal Party lost the seat of Mayo to the Nick Xenophon Team. NXT may yet have a chance of taking the large country electorate of Grey.

A range of commentators last night agreed that the coalition would likely be able to form a government with 76-78 seats. The large number of close results means that it will be up to ten days before the results are clear.

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Triumphant Shorten Says The ALP Is Back; Turnbull Delivers Late-Night Off-Key Speech To Supporters

The closeness of the count delayed the appearance of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. Shorten appeared first, after 11pm. He told supporters in Melbourne that the ALP was “back”. He reiterated his campaign themes and said that the ALP would save Medicare “in government or opposition”.

Malcolm Turnbull spoke to Liberal supporters at 12.30am, delivering a speech widely panned as off-key and inappropriate. Turnbull spoke at length about thuggery in the construction industry and defended his decision to call the double dissolution. He insisted that the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

  • Watch Shorten’s speech (11m)
  • Listen to Shorten (11m)
  • Watch Turnbull’s speech (16m)
  • Listen to Turnbull (16m)

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Windsor and Oakeshott Defeated; Existing Crossbenchers Re-Elected

Tony Windsor, the former member for New England, failed to defeat Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. Windsor polled 29.73% but Joyce won the seat outright with a primary vote of 52.09%. [Read more…]


Senate President Announces Decision On Covered Visitors To Parliament House

The President of the Senate, Senator Stephen Parry, has announced that visitors who do not wish to be identified when visiting Parliament will be required to sit in the public galleries enclosed in glass that are normally reserved for school groups.

Parry announced the decision in response to a question from the Opposition’s Senate leader, Penny Wong. He said the decision was an interim measure, pending further advice from specialist agencies.

Visitors who cannot be clearly identified will be asked to be identified and to produce identification. They will then be free to move around the building but will be required to sit in the glassed enclosures in order to view parliamentary proceedings. [Read more…]